Extracts

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A quiet heart is needed


essay

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[1 of 4] Kempis, Thomas à (1380-1471, Germany): primary subject "Heart, work of, attention on" (search under Inner Life/Practices)"
True quietness of heart is gotten by resisting our passions, not by obeying them.

[2 of 4] St. Hesychius (5th century, Israel): primary subject "Contemplation" (search under Inner Life/Practices)": detail "From ‘On Watchfulness and Holiness’"
Because every thought enters the heart in the form of a mental image of some sensible object, the blessed light of the Divinity will illumine the heart only when the heart is completely empty of everything and so free from all form. Indeed, this light reveals itself to the pure intellect in the measure to which the intellect is purged of all concepts.

[3 of 4] Tauler, Johann (c. 1300-1361, Germany): primary subject "Contemplation" (search under Inner Life/Practices)": detail "From the ‘Sermon for the Second Sunday after Easter’"
When the wind howls and the doors and windows clatter, one can hardly hear the voice of man. As to the voice of God, that fatherly, whispered, secret word, uttered in the inmost depths of your soul—if you will hear it, you must be deaf to all the roar of the world without, and hush all the voices of your own inner life.

[4 of 4] Hujwiri, Ali ibn Uthman (1009-1072, Persia): primary subject "Experience, of the higher" (search under Inner Life/Experiences)"
When the heart is occupied by anything other than God, and the one who seeks experiential knowledge has recourse to the heart, that individual ends up in ignorance of God. All human beings seek evidence of experiential knowledge from the heart, and they seek passion and desire from the heart as well; that is why they do not attain what they desire. Apart from God there is no repose so long as they go on seeking the truth from the heart. When an indication of evidence is required, they must return to God; this is the difference between a servant who has recourse to the heart and one who has recourse to God.